Juno and the Paycock Reviews
I never thought there would ever be a film from Hitchcock that would disappoint me. Juno and the Paycock is so incredibly dull that it couldn't even hold my attention at least for a minute. I go in and out of consciousness while watching this. Right from the start, I know this film has something to say and themes to explore but it is done in such a poor and uninteresting way that all of the story's power is wiped away. Juno and the Paycock is based on a play by Sean O'Casey; Hitchcock, most likely, tried to retain that simplistic quality where the bulk of the film takes place in a single room, which I wouldn't really mind if the film was able to execute it in a dynamic and entertaining way. The film is so stiff, featuring shots that stay on the actors that ramble on and on, most of which is unintelligible due to both the poor quality of original elements and the thick accents of the actors. There was no sense of drama in the scene at all; this would probably the only time when I would actually look for melodrama as the material is just so stale that presenting it in a natural fashion would just fail to keep its audience engaged. The film also lacked a musical score which made the film feel so empty and lifeless. The acting was the only thing that kept it from being the worst film I have ever seen, as actors were able to come off as mediocre; which is definitely a high point for this film. If one wants to keep thinking that Hitchcock is a master filmmaker who hasn't created anything tiresome, then please avoid this film.
"Boyle, no man can do enough for Ireland."
Not much happens. A family and neighbors stand around talking, waiting for a inheritance check.
"I'll take no breakfest,I still have a little spirit left in me."-Captain John 'Paycock' Boyle (Edward Chapman)
That it covers material different from what Hitch would later become a master at makes it kinda interesting, if only to see how he would handle things. Well, apparently this film is a close adaptation, but that doesn't mean that it really works.
In all honesty, this film is a real drag. It's boring, unengaging, and reminded me a lot (to an extent) of Angela's Ashes, only not as good and harder to sit through. It also feels far longer than it is. Sara Allgood gives a decent performance, and holds everything together, but everyone else falls short. On top of that, the sound quality is pretty bad (the kinks hadn't been worked out yet) and that, combined with the thick accents of some of the performers makes it really difficult to discern what is going on at times.
Visually the film is at least sort of interesting, with a bulk of the film being a series of static medium shots, sometimes done in long takes. Aside from that though, the film isn't really innovative or captivating.
I don't really recommend it unless you are a completist or have a big fascination with early "talkies".